Shopping for a new MINI Cooper?
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
much roomier inside than people expect
convertible trunk is small "whether the top's up or down
Wind and road noise grow intrusive at highway speeds
no signs of rattles squeaks or cowl shake
very good build quality
Two passengers will fit well in the 2010 MINI Cooper and Convertible, while back-seaters have every reason to complain.
Even six-footers will find the driver's chair supportive, with plenty of head- and legroom. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel helps a lot, as do the sculpted, high-back seats. Up front, ConsumerGuide reports that the MINI Cooper's "generous seat travel and a high ceiling accommodate even large occupants," and MyRide adds that "tall drivers needn't worry about space in the MINI." Edmunds agrees that "neither headroom nor legroom is an issue" for those riding closest to the windshield. ConsumerGuide does point out that "the convertible's wide center console restricts knee space for taller drivers," although they call the front seats "firm and supportive."
The front seatbacks get scooped out, but they can't help much when it comes to backseat room. That remains a place for occasional riders in a good mood-especially so in the convertible, which feels even narrower at the shoulders with the top stacked behind. The MINI Cooper's second row offers "nearly nonexistent legroom," according to Edmunds, while ConsumerGuide feels that "knee space is tight even with front seats set back partially; it disappears with them fully rearward." MyRide calls the backseats "a joke." The convertible "is a bit more snug" in the rear, Autoblog reports, and "with the front passenger seat pulled forward, a small-framed passenger can fit, if only for short trips."
The rear seats of the MINI hatchback fold and lock down to boost cargo space from 6 cubic feet to 23.3 cubic feet, and there's a two-position shelf to divvy up the space. MyRide disses the MINI hatchback for "an amazing lack of storage space." ConsumerGuide notes that, "aside from large map pockets in the doors and a two-tier glovebox, interior storage is meager." Edmunds reviewers also point out that "trunk space behind the rear seat is severely limited, but folding down the 50/50-split rear seat creates a useful square-shaped cargo area." The Convertible has a cargo pass-through and a dual-piece tailgate that opens wide to carry a reasonable amount of luggage. The top doesn't fold into the trunk but rather sits atop the rear of the car, which leaves 6 cubic feet of cargo space "whether the top's up or down," Edmunds says.
Noise is another issue: Edmunds calls the 2010 MINI Cooper "an amusement park ride on wheels, albeit a noisy one," and ConsumerGuide agrees that "wind and road noise grow intrusive at highway speeds."
In terms of quality, fit, and finish, many reviewers find the opposite of TheCarConnection.com's experience. Kelley Blue Book calls the interior "truly one-of-a-kind," while ConsumerGuide notes "solid workmanship" and MyRide observes, "everywhere you look, the MINI exhibits very good build quality." Taking a step closer, MyRide says the MINI's materials and finishes are "all over the map," and notes "the squeaky, flimsy center console." TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven more than a dozen MINIs over the years, and most examples have exhibited creaks, squeaks, and groans even under the 10,000-mile mark. Those observations aren't universal-Autoblog attests their MINI Cooper S Convertible "felt solid and showed no signs of rattles, squeaks or cowl shake"-but are found frequently in long-term tests of the MINI lineup.
The 2010 MINI Cooper seats two in fine comfort-but adults won't fit easily in back, and build quality remains an open question.